‘I emailed the planning authority to find out whether we could turn the existing windows into one big wall of glass, because that would be the key element of anything we did.’ Fortunately, the fact that there was already a lot of glazing on the southern aspect went in their favour and before long Ian and Jayne had sold their seven bedroom period house in nearby Stokesley and moved into the bungalow. Although they realised they wouldn’t be able to knock down the bungalow and start again, they had already started to plan a major remodel of the property which would focus on the glorious view.
‘We lived in the bungalow for a year so we could get used to the way we would live in it and the way the light works,’ says Jayne. ‘We gave the architect Eco Arc an idea of what we wanted in terms of light and space and included a sedum roof, which ultimately helped with the planning application.’
Their preparation, research and willingness to work with the National Parks Authority paid off and the plans were passed first time. A number of eco aspects were built into the design, including the use of reclaimed build materials; photo-voltaic solar panels; argon-filled windows, high insulation; installation of trunking for a domestic wind turbine (subject to planning), and a double-sided wood burning stove with a back boiler.
‘We considered having a ground source heat pump but the running costs were quite high, and a wood chip biomass boiler would have worked if we had had outbuildings in which to install the boiler and hopper,’ said Ian. ‘The wood burning stove proved to be the best option for us because we have our own wood, which can be ecologically managed.’ The stove provides most of the heating for the house, including masses of hot water which, in turn, supplies the under floor heating.
The layout of the interior changed beyond all recognition as the bungalow was virtually dismantled and rebuilt. The main aim was to exchange smaller room for large open living areas and conventional windows for a wall of glass. To achieve this, steel beams extend right across the width of the main living space, interrupted only by the supporting chimney breast, to open up the living area. The entrance hall has been extended to include a glass and timber staircase and the study, with its barcoded glass doors, is directly off the sitting area so that Ian can work at the computer without feeling cut off from the family.
‘We wanted a sociable, flexible house in which all the rooms were used, and where the outside was as much a part of our lifestyle as the inside,’ says Jayne. ‘The views here are amazing and in many ways the house takes second place to the space outside.’